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IPL 2022: Can CSK draw inspiration from 
Dhoni's last-over heroics?

CSK will relish playing Punjab at this delicate stage of the tournament, writes Ayaz Memon



MS Dhoni of the Chennai Super Kings plays a shot during the match against the Mumbai Indians. (BCCI)
MS Dhoni of the Chennai Super Kings plays a shot during the match against the Mumbai Indians. (BCCI)

By Ayaz Memon

Published: Mon 25 Apr 2022, 1:19 AM

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s last-over blitz against Mumbai Indians the other night is expected to give IPL 15’s sagging TRP ratings a massive boost. It also widened the scope of CSK making a comeback in the tournament after a disastrous start with five defeats on the trot.

Victory for CSK seemed extremely difficult when Dhoni walked out to bat, and improbable when the last over began. But the former India captain who acquired cult status in the sport because of his amazing finishing powers, turned the clock back a decade with strokes of stunning power and placement to leave MI shell-shocked.

This was virtually a battle for survival for these marquee teams. Defeat meant that a place in the playoffs, barring an extremely remote mathematical chance, would become non-existent. In the event, a vintage Dhoni knock helped his team live to fight another day.

A win against Punjab Kings tonight will bring CSK level with them and the Delhi Capitals on six points and could signal an upheaval in the race for places in the playoff if RCB don’t recover swiftly.

CSK will relish playing Punjab at this delicate stage of the tournament. After an impressive start, Punjab have doddered.

Runs from the dangerous opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal have waned in the past few games.

Jonny Bairstow hasn’t got going, and the batting became heavily dependent on Liam Livingstone. The ultra-aggressive approach of Shahrukh Khan and Odean Smith always comes with some risk and has not paid off consistently. In the previous match, when Livingstone fell, Punjab were out of the fight.

Punjab’s bowling has also lacked teeth. Kagiso Rabada has been a shade below his best, and Rahul Chahar’s wicket-taking form has dropped a bit in the past couple of matches.

The young Arshdeep Singh has been splendid, but Punjab need more from other bowlers to win.

All this doesn’t mean it will be a cakewalk for CSK. The defending champions have serious problems of their own — a still struggling, below par top-order, skipper and star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja in lukewarm form, Moeen Ali and T20 pace ace Chris Jordan are terribly out of sorts.

All of which left the team languishing in the first four weeks. Whether Dhoni’s sensational pyrotechnics in the previous game can inspire a CSK turnaround is now the biggest question in the league.

Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and commentator


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